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  • Construction output rose 0.7% during the three months to October. However, seasonal factors contributed to the increase and on output was still 9.7% down on the same period of 2011. The decline was attributable to a continued weakness in new public sector work and decline during the quarter in private sector new work and private housing RM&I activity:
    • Social housing and new public non-residential output were 21% and 19% down on a year ago respectively.
    • Private industrial and commercial activity fell back during the three months to October, leaving sector output 3% and 15% lower respectively than a year earlier.
    • Private new housing activity fell 5% during the three months to October to stand 9% down on a year ago. Private housing RM&I activity also weakened sharply, falling by 7% to stand 13% down on a year ago.
    • The new infrastructure sector output rose 20% during the three months to October, limiting the decline in sector output against the corresponding period of 2011 to 1%.
  • Glenigan data published in the latest HBF Planning Pipeline report reveals that a total of 36,500 residential units secured detailed planning approval during the third quarter of this year; a 15% increase against the same period of 2011 and up by over a third against the weak performance recorded during the three months to June 2012. 

UK Economy

  • National Statistics have recorded a continued strengthening in UK employment levels, accompanied by a decline in the number of registered for unemployment benefit.
    • During the three months to October, 29.6 million people aged 16 and over were in employment, up 40,000 on the previous three months and half a million more than a year earlier.  
    • The rise in employment levels has been driven by the private sector. Even allowing for the statistical reclassifications, between September 2011 and September 2012, the number of people employed in the public sector fell by 128,000 and the number of people employed in the private sector increased by 627,000.
    • The unemployment rate was 7.8 per cent of the economically active population, down 0.2 on May to July 2012 and down 0.5 on a year earlier. There were 2.51 million unemployed people, down 82,000 on May to July 2012 and down 128,000 on a year earlier. 
    • Household budgets remain under pressure. Total pay (including bonuses) rose by 1.8% compared with August to October 2011. This compares to consumer price inflation of 2.7% over the year to October.
  • The Council of Mortgage Lenders report that their members advanced a total of 49,500 house purchase loans in October, a 14% increase on the 43,500 loans in September and a 10% rise on October last year. This total of 20,000 loans advanced to first-time buyers in October, a rise of 14% on September and up by 19% on the same month last year. At 80%, the average loan-to-value (LTV) ratio for loans to first time buyers was unchanged in October compared to August and September; this figure has essentially remained static for the last two years.

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